By LAURA TESTER
A Sylvan Lake man who died in an avalanche earlier this week in British Columbia was trying to help an injured snowmobiler just before he died.
Eyewitnesses are reporting that 30-year-old Chad Temple was whisked away by a small avalanche while trying to help a fellow snowmobiler who had gone off an embankment and been injured.
Temple, formerly of southwestern Manitoba, died late Monday night after getting caught in an avalanche in the Queest Mountain area near Sicamous. He had been living in Sylvan Lake for a number of years.
Jason Martin, of the parts department at Red Deer Power Sports, said Temple used to come regularly into the store in Burnt Lake Business Park. He’d buy parts for his fairly new sled and just a week ago he was back into the store.
Martin had ordered him a new backpack for his trip to B.C.
From their chats together, Martin knew that Temple rode a lot on snowmobiles and had dirt bikes as well.
“He was a pretty nice guy,” Martin said Wednesday. “He was pretty mellow, a pretty funny guy . . . it’s a shame.”
Martin described the Queest Mountain area where Temple had travelled as a fairly small riding area. He had never been there himself.
At around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Sicamous Mounties received a 911 call from one of the four snowmobilers. Shortly after, volunteer search and rescuers from Shuswap were called out.
Fortunately, search and rescue aircraft that had been responding to an earlier-reported plane crash near Nelson were able to help. Working diligentely hrough hazardous and unpredictable snow and weather conditions, air and ground searchers discovered the group, including Temple who was found dead at the scene. A second person was airlifted out with leg fractures, while two were able to leave the air via snowmobile.
An RCMP helicopter retrieved Temple’s body on Tuesday. The coroner’s office is now conducting its own investigation.
Sgt. Carl Vinet of the Sicamous RCMP detachment said the four were considered to be experienced snowmobilers who were familiar with the Sicamous area. They were properly equipped and outfitted.
More than 89 people have since joined a Facebook page to pay tribute to Temple. There is a link to a page that shines a “memory torch” to the well-liked man. Temple himself had his own Facebook page where he described himself as “just a small town boy with some education and a passion for being challenged in any way shape or form.”
“Miss you Chad, and rest in peace my friend,” says a friend, who went by the name of Cory Brown on the Memory Torch page. “You were a great friend and (I) will always remember the times back home when we were kids . . . seems just like yesterday.”